Mount Holyoke was named after Elizur Holyoke who surveyed around present-day Springfield and figured why not name a mountain after himself. The Connecticut state capitol building's dome is made of real glimmering gold. The 527-foot-high Travelers Tower in Hartford was once the tallest building in New England.
While all three of these landmarks can be viewed from various areas across the state, one of my favorite places to see them is from Dorothy Waring's Vista within Glastonbury's Hollister Preserve. The vista is the destination for those visiting the Kongscut Land Trust preserve donated by Dana and Dorothy Waring. The late Dana Waring was one of the group's founding members and its first president. The couple donated the 16 acres near the center of town five years ago.
A white and blue-blazed loop trail connects the Hollister Preserve with the adjacent Whitehouse Family Nature Preserve. The highlight of the journey is that each preserve has its own vista albeit with a similar view. The 39-acre Whitehouse preserve not only showcases the view, but also is an intersting journey right along the banks of Smith Brook and past a picturesque swamp.
And judging from the footprints in the snow, the area is very popular with residents looking to escape from the heavily developed area that surrounds the preserves. Entering from a trailhead along Tall Timbers Road, I traveled down to Smith Brook, named after the Smith sisters. Hancy, Cyrinthia, Laurilla, Julia and Abby worked for women's rights and the abolitionist cause.
Much of the property along the brook in this area is preserved with conservation easements. From a footbridge across Smith Brook, the elevation rises 186 feet up to the overlook. The existing trail passes by huge oaks and beech trees with initials dating back to the mid-1950s.
The Eastern Border Fault runs along this section of the valley, a product of crustal motion some 200 million years ago. The fault separates the brownstone of the central valley from the metamorphic rock of the eastern highlands. There are some great examples of this rock strewn about the preserve.
The Kongscut Land Trust comes from a Native American Indian word meaning "place of wild goose." And a wild goose is about the only thing that you can't see from one of my favorite views of central Connecticut. And, in case you are wondering, Boston's John Hancock Tower is the tallest in New England at 790 feet tall.
Route 17 through South Glastonbury to Chestnut Hill Road. Travel along Chestnut Hill Road for about a half-mile and turn on Coleman Road. The trailhead for the Hollister Preserve is located at the northern end of Sherwood Drive. The Whitehouse Family Nature Preserve can be accessed along Tall Timbers Road near the intersection with New London Turnpike.
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